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Floridas health report reveals troubling disparities

caines | 1/4/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Dr. Fatima Zafar, vice-president, specialized care for Liberty City-based Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc., has been a physician for 44 years. She previously served as the Centers chief medical officer and says the challenge for Blacks is to make changes in their lifestyle changes that many cannot financially afford to make. I concur with the reports diagnosis: Blacks in Florida suffer to a higher percentage from diabetes, asthma and obesity, she said. Why? Socio-economics, lack of health education and chronic unemployment. When you work a minimum-wage job and are working long hours, there is little time to plan your diet or even to take the time to prepare a healthy meal. That means people are eating a lot of fast foods, a lot of fried foods or using microwaves instead of ovens to prepare their meals. It tends to be a vicious cycle. Whats more, things look like they are going to get worse [economically]. That means more Blacks will suffer from diseases that are preventable or easily treated with proper and routine healthcare. The report also indicated that the South continues to lag behind in terms of the overall health of its citizens. Among all states in the U.S., Florida ranked 33rd; Georgia, 37th; South Carolina, 45th; Alabama, 46th; Louisiana, 49th; and Mississippi, 50th. Vermont is the healthiest state in America. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com